Two Brothers Books of Freeport, Maine

One of our favorite stops when we travel to Maine is Two Brothers Books, located at 176 US Rte 1, Freeport.  The next time you make it to L. L. Bean country, do not pass up this shop if you are a book lover.  Enjoy some photos, and then I will tell you why you should make a visit.


Gorgeous bindings
Easton Press
Feline Help Desk
You'll want to cart home the whole store.
Rows and rows of inventory
Susan is only able to search the lower shelves...

One significant reason to make the trip to Freeport to visit this shop is that none of these books are for sale on the internet; this inventory is not for sale online.


A second reason is that the prices asked are extremely reasonable.  If you're not familiar with selling online, there is a significant amount from every sale that goes to commission and payment processing fees.  In fact, up to 25% of the price of each book sold disappears into the interweb ether once the monthly bills are paid.  At Two Brothers Books they are passing on that savings to the customer.


The third reason is the friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful owner of the shop, Dave Young.


Dave Young, owner of Two Brothers Books


Some years ago Dave told us that he and his brother started the business together, but for some time now Dave has been the sole owner.


We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions, in an impromptu interview.


Haaswurth Books Steve: Your books aren’t online, so the customer coming in is not competing with the internet.  I think that’s great; there aren’t many shops like that anymore

Two Brothers Dave: We sell all kinds of things [in our shop].  It might be a town history of an obscure town in California; online it might sell, but I get California customers.

HWB: How many years have you been here?

Dave: 21

HWB: What would you say have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in 21 years?

Dave: I think the general public, not the collectors but the general public, are reading more paperbacks, trade paperbacks…I always hated paperbacks, and now if it’s a history book and it’s in paperback…

HWB: Oh, right, right

Dave: …they’re more…

HWB: A town history, or…

Dave: they’re more open minded.

HWB: So you’re not talking about romance novels…

Dave: No, no…I stock very little romance.

HWB: You’re talking about good quality books in paperback.

Dave: I would say, twenty years ago there was more interest in more formal literature…I guess you would say, not gothic but the Victorian age.

HWB: Sure, Dickens…

Dave: Yeah.  I haven’t sold a Shakespeare for two years I don’t think.

HWB: Wow.

Dave: Dickens, usually it’s the bindings, they sell.

HWB: Yeah, yeah, boy…

Dave: At Christmastime.  It’s a…I can always sell Stephen King.  

HWB: What about live auctions?  Have you always been going to live auctions?

Dave: I haven’t gone to a live auction in almost three years.  I used to go to four or five a week.  But that just shows you, people…especially around here, there’s a lot of wealthy families, and they can’t bring themselves to throw away a book.  But they’ll bring it in and sell it or take credit for trade.  So a lot - enough - stock comes in that way.  And then I don’t lose a night at an auction for two books.  
Religion section
HWB: Our customers, um, we focus on theology, some American history…when we started buying to resell, twenty five years-ish ago, religious books were kind of the bottom of the totem pole in most walk-in book shops.  Is it still that way, do you think?  Are people more interested in it, or less?

Dave: To me it’s probably about the same.  I have several repeat customers that always check that section out, but, it’s like finding a good quality concordance…or..

HWB: Yeah

Dave: I haven’t seen a Halley’s Commentary in years…

HWB: But they used to be quite common…

Dave: Well, I have my own at home on my shelf…people look for Strong’s, Young’s, Clarence Larkin I haven’t seen in forever…If you said “Spurgeon” to somebody, they would ask, what team does he play for?

HWB: Yeah, right, people don’t know…you, know, people aren’t interested in that, or know…

Dave: It’s interesting.  I have young people come in - college age - probably early 20’s, and they’re asking for Greek writers, or…there’s still a fairly sophisticated reader out there…I think, not everybody’s in a Harry Potter frame of mind.

HWB: What’s been your biggest gem, in your career… you bought it cheap, you sold it high…we don’t need to tell the taxman…what’s the…what do you think is a real win?

Dave: You know I can’t even remember the playwright now…it was in the home of a friend…I’d bought some books from her before but she was moving from her condo to like a semi-assisted living center….family, wealthy family, she had been high up in the hospital on the volunteer side, which is where I met her…her husband had been a judge…but they had a beautiful library.  They had Victorian children’s books, a complete Oz collection…

HWB: Wow!

Dave: She wasn’t selling them, the children’s books.  But she said, “Any of those boxes over there in the den upstairs you can look at.”  And so I just looked, and threw out a very low figure, and she said, “Take what you can,” because she just couldn’t use them.  And in that batch I found…it was a binding of four plays from Shakespeare’s time, by a known playwright, complete, beautiful…I discounted it and sold it to an investor friend of mine for seven thousand…it was probably around a fifteen thousand dollar value…

HWB: Yeah, sure!

Dave: I sold it within a week, so…

HWB: Take the money and reinvest!  Any questions, Susan?

Haaswurth Susan: No…

HWB: About the cats maybe?

Dave: The cats are more popular than I am.

Susan: Every book shop should have some cats around.

Dave: People come in and say, “We saw your cats online, where are they?”  I literally had one couple come in to see them - they weren’t here to buy a book.

HWB: I meant to tell you, although you don’t do online stuff there is online stuff about you.  And almost all of it says you’re closed.

Dave: I can’t get rid of that.  My “closed” was, I had a second shop, in Raymond…


Dave: I should try to find someone who can figure out how to fix that.

HWB: Thanks for answering a few spur-of-the-moment questions.  As always, our best stop in Maine; see you next year!


To contact Dave Young at Two Brothers Books, use this link.